For the past three years, the Michigan State University Pompon team has been involved with Special Olympics Michigan by volunteering for both the State Summer Games as well as the State Poly Hockey Finals as part of their philanthropy.
The Michigan State University Pompon was establish in 2005, and was the first ever traditional Mid-American style pompon team formally established at the collegiate level. The team's primary values are team unity, enthusiasm, school spirit and loyalty, community involvement, and philanthropic endeavors. It is because of these values that the team began volunteering for Special Olympics events.
After the Poly Hockey Finals were held in Lansing, Special Olympics Michigan reached out to the team to volunteer for the 2015 State Summer Games. Leigh Fitzpatrick, a current member of the MSU Pompon, has attended four Special Olympics events while on the team. "My favorite part of Special Olympics events is the Opening Ceremony, just because everyone is so excited and I love to hear what event(s) everyone is doing," Leigh said.
For the Summer Games, the MSU Pompon was in charge of special events where they got to interact with athletes while playing games and handing out prizes. Athletes lined up to dance, participate in activities, and interact with the girls on the team.
Volunteers like the MSU Pompon help to make the Special Olympics Michigan events amazing, unique and memorable experiences for the athletes that they can carry with them long after the event is over. Having volunteers that can pump up the athletes and get them excited about competing is a crucial part of the State Games, and the team of girls have played a huge role in making that happen at the events they attend.
As for future events, "I know for sure that MSU would love to stay involved with Special Olympics," said Leigh, "And probably after graduation, I would love to come back and volunteer. It is probably my favorite event that we do for philanthropy."